Best Music Website (2007)

elHood.com

First came MySpace and YouTube. Now, there's a new kid in town. If MTV and Google got married, their baby would be elHood.com. This music Website works directly with artists and their music labels. It's actually designed as a tool for artists: They upload their own songs, share photos, announce news and events, and communicate with fans. Web users register — in English or Spanish — and create a profile. Once a member, a user gets beaucoup content — from uncut and unreleased material, to behind-the-scenes news from music videos, concerts, and photo shoots. Users can stream content and customize their profiles and music and video players, but copyright laws prevent downloading. "From day one, we wanted to be more than a social networking site," says Demian Bellumio, CEO of Miami-based elHood.com and Hoodiny Entertainment Group, the site's parent company. Much of the content is exclusive to the site, which is constantly updated with artists' latest projects. Artists often visit the company's studio and do interviews or tape live performances, which are then posted online. "For artists, we are one of the most sophisticated platforms out there that allow them to connect with fans and to track who is listening to their music," Bellumio says. Also new and upcoming: elHood Radio, where users can pick between preprogrammed stations or create their own based on their preferences; and elHood TV, where media partners and record labels will have their own online channels. Video may have killed the radio star, but elHood is bringing him (and her) back.

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